Basilica of the Annunciation


Annunciation Basilica


Saint Gabriel Church


View of the city

Nazareth (En Nasira)

(Matthew 2: 23, Luke 1:26-28)

Arab city in Galilee with many churches and monasteries where Jesus grew to manhood (Jesus of Nazareth).

History: Archaeological evidence indicates that the site was occupied in the Early Bronze Age. First mentioned as a Jewish city in the New Testament. Even after the destruction of the Second Temple it continued to be a Jewish city. Mentioned in liturgical poems of Eleazar Kallir (from sometime between 2nd and 4th century) . Also mentioned by traveler Antoninus Placentinus (570).

Jews of Nazareth, together with those of Tiberias, aided the Persians in their war against the Byzantines (614), but after the Byzantine victory, the Jews were slaughtered and Jewish Nazareth was apparently destroyed. After the Moslem conquest the town became Arab. In 1099 it was taken by the Crusader Tancred and became a Christian town. In 1263 it was again captured by the Arabs who completely destroyed it. It remained desolate until 1620 when the Druze ruler Fakhr ed Din allowed the Franciscans to settle here and build churches and monasteries. The Bedouin ruler Dahir el Amr made it capital of  Lower Galilee. During World War I it was the headquarters of the Turkish army in Palestine and during the British Mandate it was a district capital. During the War of Independence it was the center of Kaukji’s Arab Liberation Army until captured by the Israel Defense Forces.

Sites: The Basilica of the Annunciation is built on the traditional spot where the angel announced to Mary that she would give birth to a son (Luke 1:26-28).

A Byzantine church was built here in the 4th century but it was destroyed by the Persians in 615. The Crusaders built a Romanesque church on its ruins but this too was destroyed by Moslems.

It was restored in the 18th century when the Ottoman Turks allowed Spanish pilgrims to build a small church called Casa Nova. stayed here when he visited Nazareth in 1799.

The Catholics then built a magnificent new structure in 1955 – the Basilica of the Annunciation. The basilica is a blend of modern architectural styles and preserves a Medieval structure. It is decorated with works of art from all over the world.

Just over a km. north of the basilica is the Greek Orthodox church with a well, called the Fountain of Mary, where the angel Gabriel appeared before the Virgin. The Russian Orthodox, Maronites, Syrians, Copts, Armenians and Protestants also have churches in Nazareth.

In the bazaar area are remains of a 6th century synagogue consisting of 80 stones, some of which are inscribed, as well as column bases.

There are also rock-cut tombs, caves, and cisterns in the area.

 Basilica of the Annunciation

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